Let's Get Real....
A WRITER'S LIFE is a surreal mosaic of fact and fiction - endlessly exhausting, endlessly exhilarating, an exercise in madness, depression, joy, shame, guilt, exuberance and so much more. In this post we're shouting out about the FACT versus the FICTION of a writer's life. Here goes:-
I have this wonderful book in my head, an automatic bestseller, I just know it, and I’m going to be the next Stephen King or J.K Rowling.
No one ever became a writer without actually writing words on a page (or a computer). Writing is rocky road of hell and joy that takes years and years to master and most successful writers admit that they never fully master the art. Writing is an art form that needs constant practice. Everyone thinks they can write a bestseller - that’s the truth of it, but bestsellers are an alchemy of many factors; algorithms, networking, patience, luck, timing, years of work, trends, hashtags, promotions and perhaps divine intervention and ultimately who you know in the industry (as awful as this sounds - hence the networking element).
I can self-publish and my novel will sell millions of copies because I have researched the internet and know how to muddle through with cover designs and social media marketing. I know I can write, so the rest is easy.
Despite what you may read online self-publishing is an exercise in madness for many. The learning of coding and/or new publishing platforms, the ever-changing rules of marketing and promotions is a 12-hour a day job and that’s before you even write a word. Of course I exaggerate for effect but not by much!!! Amazon changes its algorithms regularly to steer you towards spending lots and lots on its Amazon Advertising platform, which you practically need a degree in mathematics to understand; I kid you not.
Facebook and Apple are other mega-platforms that are constantly changing their rules to pick more money from your virtual wallet. Think on this, if you self-publish the daily equation to get moderate success is roughly 80 percent online admin and 20 per cent writing. You can allocate a day for the online admin stuff and the rest of the time you can write but you will find the online admin stuff creeps into each and every day of your writing life under the guise of writing procrastination.
I’ll just ‘love bomb’ all UK publishers with my work and something will ‘stick’. They won’t be able to resist me.
All publishers have genre requirements so if you’re a romance writer, 'love-bombing' all publishers will serve you a big plate of ZERO in return. You need to research who publishes romance and stick strictly to these publishers and/or agents. Despite it being a no-no generally, I would suggest you ignore this rule of only approaching one publisher or agent at a time. Who has time for this method? Approach three at a time because your time is important and any publisher/agent worth their salt will try to get back to you quickly. But before you do that check their website to see if they are accepting submissions. The Big Five publishers will have many imprints you can approach but check they are accepting submissions and follow all their requirements; these requirements are there for a reason. So, it doesn't matter how brilliant you are as a writer, if your story doesn't fit a publisher's brand or list, you'll be REJECTED. PERIOD. Never take this personally. And remember check that you can submit without a literary agent; some publishers allow this but most don't.
Before you give up, please don't. If you're a writer, it will be in your DNA and you will find a way but save your sanity and come up with a writer's lifestyle plan that will protect you. In the next blog we'll help you with this, help you get started. Check back with us soon.